Human Rights Core featured in Jenny Holzer Augmented Reality Project

It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s… the Core? 

World-renowned artist and UChicago alumna Jenny Holzer, EX’74, launches her new public art commission, YOU BE MY ALLY, this week—and students enrolled in the Pozen Center’s Human Rights in World Civilizations Core sequence will be looking up at some familiar words projected against the campus’s impressive buildings.  
YOU BE MY ALLY, which draws on texts from UChicago’s Core curriculum, was featured in the New York Times last Sunday and premiered October 5 on the Hyde Park campus via a web-based augmented reality app. This is Holzer’s first U.S.-based augmented reality project and marks her first collaboration with university students and faculty. 

After members of the UChicago community submitted Core reading excerpts during the 2019-20 academic year, Holzer’s team selected 29 quotes for use in the project. Two of these were submitted by Associate Instructional Professor Ben Laurence, from the Core text Country of My Skull by Antjie Krog, which Professor Laurence teaches as part of Human Rights in World Civilizations.  

Each line of text is being virtually projected onto a specific campus building through a markered augmented reality app. The Krog quote “you are still figuring out whether you have survived it” appears against the side of the Cummings Life Science Center; “identity is memory” is being projected onto Rockefeller Chapel. 

“Needless to say, this text has been indispensable to the studio and the artist,” says Emeline Boehringer, AB’21, a research assistant on the project. 

If you find yourself on campus before YOU BE MY ALLY ends on November 22, don’t miss the chance to take out your smartphone and do some Core reading of your own!

Augmented reality app
© 2020 Jenny Holzer, member Artists Rights Society (ARS), NY
Photo 1 Credit: Chris Dilts
Photo 2 Credit: Holition